The Nation



Charter-change, other bills to be rendered void

Several important legal amendments and bills will become invalid as a result of the House dissolution.

They include the controversial changes to three articles of the Constitution proposed by the Pheu Thai-led government, which were about to undergo their third and final readings, the spokesperson of the House secretariat office said yesterday. There are 68 bills and amendments pending.

Article 68 of the charter stipulates that any petitions concerning alleged constitutional violations or disputes can be made directly to the Constitutional Court - but the Yingluck Shinawatra government wants the process to go through public prosecutors, said Somchart Thammasiri.

Article 237 imposes a five-year ban on party executives whose political parties are disbanded; but the amendment would end the requirement that they be barred. And if Article 291 is altered as the Pheu Thai government wants, amendment of the entire charter could be done, he said.

The other bills are mostly under the scrutiny process by House committees, the important ones being the consumer protection bill, trade-secret protection bill, the human-rights bill, the Fang province establishment bill, and the protection of victims of medical malpractices bill. There is only one bill undergoing Senate scrutiny - an organic law on budget auditing.

Court to decide on petitions

Meanwhile, a high-ranking court source said yesterday that the Constitutional Court will decide tomorrow what to do with a number of key petitions filed against the Yingluck Shinawatra government, on legislation including the Bt2-trillion borrowing bill and the controversial amnesty bill, following the House dissolution announced yesterday by the prime minister.

The source was referring to the court's procedure, under Number 23 of the 2007 law establishing the court, over its jurisdiction in handling post-dissolution petitions.

The rules say that a House dissolution does not render any petition invalid, and that the petitions can be dropped only if the complainants are dead, if the petition is withdrawn, or the judges deem the petition baseless.

The Bt2-trillion borrowing bill and the amnesty bill were petitioned against by the opposition Democrat Party.

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